We have a conservative streak when it comes to beer and, these days, find ourselves drawn to weaker, more straightforward beers most of the time. We like the idea of preserving our brewing heritage and believe that there are still pleasing but subtle variations to be found in less showy tinkering with hops, malt, water and yeast.
We can’t, in all honesty, say we’ve loved many self-declared innovative beers — nothing barrel-aged, for example, has made our list of favourites; our mouths do
now not water at the idea of an Islay lambic; and we’re nonplussed by the very idea of black IPA.
We also roll our eyes at brewers who describe themselves as innovative and then… aren’t. They’re like pop groups who say their sound ‘defies categorisation’ while producing middle-of-the-road indie music.
Having said all of that, we’re delighted that there are people still trying genuinely to innovate, even if the results aren’t always instant classics, and we do believe there are new flavours to be shaken out through experimentation. Garlic brownies, thriller-action wildlife documentaries and heavy metal baroque virginals all sound like worthwhile experiments to us, though we wouldn’t want a diet of nothing but.
The only way to break new ground is through failed experiments and doing things that most people won’t like.
Various posts and comments this week have led us to pondering this subject. Here’s Zak Avery on ‘wacky’ beers as part of a balanced diet; Velky Al at Fuggled on his preference for beer that tastes of beer with an interesting comment from Ron Pattinson; and Knut Albert on two beers he thinks prove the point that there are new things to be discovered.